The Cardinals accomplished something on the offensive line Sunday they hadn’t done since Week 8 against the Vikings: Have all five starters play every snap in the game. Furthermore, that’s been the case in only three games this season.

There had been the thought there would be a job-share at the guard spots with Rashaad Coward and Cody Ford on the left side and Max Garcia and Lecitus Smith on the right. However, Garcia, who was back on the field after missing four games with a shoulder injury, and Coward played all 66 offensive snaps.

Left tackle Josh Jones, center Billy Price and right tackle Kelvin Beachum were the other starters.

Right guard Will Hernandez and center Rodney Hudson, who were placed on reserve/injured Nov. 9 and Nov. 12, respectively, must miss one more game (Monday night Dec. 12 against the Patriots) before being eligible for return.

Left tackle D.J. Humphries was placed on IR Saturday and is done for the season, as is left guard Justin Pugh, who went on the IR list Oct. 20.

Friday, coach Kliff Kingsbury said Humphries would be assessed after the bye, but Monday he said, “It just wasn’t progressing like we thought. We were hopeful for a while that maybe it was something he could come back the last few weeks and play, but at this point that won’t be possible.”

As for possible surgery for his back injury, Kingsbury said, “I think he’s still checking out the options on that, but we’re hopeful he can just rest it and it’ll settle down.”

There is the hope Hudson and Hernandez will play again this season. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but hopefully one of the two at some point in the near future we can get back in there,” Kingsbury said.

Of the 60 possible starts for five offensive linemen in 12 games, the expected starters (Humphries, Pugh, Hudson, Hernandez and Beachum) have missed 22. Humphries and Pugh will miss at least another five each, while Hudson and Hernandez will miss at least one more each.

Here are the updated numbers for the beleaguered line based on 863 total offensive snaps this season with the second number the percentage: Beachum 854/99.0, Hernandez 578/67.0, Humphries 575/66.6, Price 412/47.7, Hudson 303/35.1, Jones 298/34.5, Pugh 263/30.5, Ford 243/28.2, Sean Harlow 226/26.2, Garcia 210/24.3, Smith 201/23.3, Coward 156/18.1, Wyatt Davis 1/0.1.

Prior to the activation of wide receiver Hollywood Brown from reserve/injured, Kingsbury had said he would probably be on a snap count to possibly limit them. The irony is that Brown played 97 percent Sunday, missing only two, while DeAndre Hopkins has played only 49 each of the last two weeks (69 and 74 percent) after suffering a minor hamstring injury against the Rams.

Of Hopkins, Kingsbury said, “Just being smart. Hopefully, through the bye, he can get completely healed up and feel 100 percent, but we wanted to make sure that we got him to this point and didn’t have any major setbacks.”

Kingsbury said Brown “felt good. We wanted to see him out there running and he felt good. He didn’t want to come out. I thought he played fast and played at a high level. He had some opportunities that we weren’t able to get him the ball a couple of times, but I thought he was running really well. We’ll continue to fit him back in and get him going.”

Finally, for the second time since coming back from an injury to his ribs in Week 9 against the Seahawks, running back James Conner played virtually all the offensive snaps.

He played 45 (71 percent) against Seattle, then 65 (missing three for 96 percent) against the Rams. In the 49ers game, he had 55 (77 percent), but wasn’t on the field for the final two possessions in the 38-10 loss. Against the Chargers, Conner played 64 snaps, missing two, for 97 percent.

Asked about whether that workload is sustainable over the final five games, Kingsbury said Monday, “Like I’ve mentioned in the last couple of weeks, he’s a guy that gets better as he gets more touches and gets more plays. I thought yesterday was the same. We want to be smart. We want to make sure he can play at his best throughout those five so that may have been a little heavy yesterday, but I thought he was playing well, and we just need to keep him rolling.”

Running back Corey Clement and wide receiver Andre Baccellia each played one snap Sunday, but made them count. Baccellia had a catch for seven yards on a third-and-5 at the start of a possessions that that eventually led to a touchdown that gave the Cardinals a 17-14 lead.

Clement’s was for eight yards on third-and-7 from the Chargers 29-yard line and led to the touchdown that put the Cardinals ahead 24-17.

Charting the snaps (snaps/percentage; starters in bold)

*Indicates player that did not play from scrimmage, but participated on special teams

OFFENSE (66 snaps, 17 players)

Quarterbacks: Kyler Murray (66/100)

Did not play: Colt McCoy. Inactive: Trace McSorley

Running backs: James Conner (64/97), Keaontay Ingram (7/11), Corey Clement (1/2)

Reserve/injured: Darrel Williams (eligible to return)

Wide receivers: Marquise Brown (64/97), DeAndre Hopkins (49/74), A.J. Green (35/53), Robbie Anderson (28/42), Andre Baccellia (1/2)

Did not play: *Pharoh Cooper. Inactive: Rondale Moore (injured), Greg Dortch (injured)

Reserve/injured: Antoine Wesley

Tight ends: Trey McBride (52/79), Maxx Williams (17/26), Stephen Anderson (12/18)

Reserve/injured: Zach Ertz (eligible to return)

Offensive linemen: LT Josh Jones (66/100), LG Rashaad Coward (66/100), C Billy Price (66/100), RG Max Garcia (66/100), RT Kelvin Beachum (66/100)

Did not play: G *Cody Ford, G *Lecitus Smith, C/G *Sean Harlow. Inactive: G Wyatt Davis. Reserve/injured: LT D.J. Humphries (eligible to return), C Rodney Hudson (eligible to return), RG Will Hernandez (eligible to return), LG Justin Pugh (eligible to return), T Josh Miles, G Marquis Hayes

DEFENSE (66 snaps, 20 players)

Defensive linemen: DE J.J. Watt (53/80), DE Zach Allen (52/79), NT Leki Fotu (17/26), NT Trysten Hill (15/23), DE Jonathan Ledbetter (13/20)

Reserve/injured: NT Rashard Lawrence (eligible to return)

Linebackers: ILB Zaven Collins (66/100), ILB Isaiah Simmons (65/98), OLB Markus Golden (50/76), ILB Ben Niemann (33/50), OLB Myjai Sanders (29/44), ILB Tanner Vallejo (16/24), OLB Cameron Thomas (15/23), OLB Victor Dimukeje (11/17), OLB Dennis Gardeck (10/15)

Did not play: ILB *Ezekiel Turner, ILB *Kamu Grugier-Hill. Inactive: OLB Jesse Luketa. Reserve/injured ILB Nick Vigil (eligible to return)

Defensive backs: S Jalen Thompson (66/100), S Budda Baker (66/100), CB Antonio Hamilton (61/92), CB Marco Wilson (57/86), CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. (29/44), S Chris Banjo (1/2)

Did not play: CB *Christian Matthew. Inactive: CB Byron Murphy Jr. (injured), S Charles Washington (injured)

SPECIAL TEAMS (27 snaps, 32 players)

LB Ezekiel Turner (22/81), LB Dennis Gardeck (22/81), LB Tanner Vallejo (22/81), CB Christian Matthew (21/78), TE Stephen Anderson (20/74), LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (19/70), LB Victor Dimukeje (19/70), S Chris Banjo (19/70), WR/RS Pharoh Cooper (11/41), CB Trayvon Mullen Jr. (11/41), K Matt Prater (10/37), RB Corey Clement (10/37), TE Maxx Williams (9/33), P Andy Lee (8/30), LS Aaron Brewer (8/30), DT Leki Fotu (8/30), CB Marco Wilson (6/22), TE Trey McBride (5/19), T Josh Jones (5/19), G Sean Harlow (5/19), G Lecitus Smith (5/19), G Cody Ford (5/19), WR Andre Baccellia (3/11), T Kelvin Beachum (3/11), DE Zach Allen (3/11), DE Jonathan Ledbetter (3/11), LB Ben Niemann (3/11), LB Zaven Collins (3/11), LB Cameron Thomas (3/11), CB Antonio Hamilton (3/11), G Rashaad Coward (2/7), S Budda Baker (1/4)

Don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions on Twitter @hbalzer721 or email me: howard@gophnx.com

 

Author

Howard Balzer is in his 47th year covering professional football as a writer, editor and broadcaster and has covered 41 Super Bowls. His connection with pro football began in 1976 with College and Pro Football Newsweekly, and since then he has been a featured columnist for The Sporting News, Pro Football Weekly, USA Today Sports Weekly and The Sports Xchange. Balzer moved to St. Louis in 1978 to work for The Sporting News, where he became Pro Football Editor in 1979. He was an analyst on ESPN's initial broadcast of the NFL Draft in 1980 and continued in that role through 1988. He has won seven writing awards in the Professional Football Writers of America competition, won an Emmy for commentaries on KPLR-TV in St. Louis in 1986 and was nominated for an Emmy in 1988 and 1990. He was named the 2016 winner of the Bob Broeg Media Award presented by the St. Louis/Tom Lombardo Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. The award is for enthusiasm, integrity, professionalism and devotion to the game of football and is reserved for individuals whose contributions to football in the St. Louis area have made a significant difference. Balzer was an officer (secretary and secretary/treasurer) for the Professional Football Writers of America for 33 years and was inducted into the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. Balzer relocated to the Phoenix area in 2020 as the publisher of the FanNation AllCardinals site and is now the Cardinals reporter for PHNX. He is entering his 19th year as one of 49 voting members on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is also on the Hall's Seniors Committee. He is the co-host of the weekly Pro Football Hall of Fame radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio and is a part-time host at ArizonaSports 98.7 FM.

>
X